Q: What is the difference between a Pardon and a U.S. Entry Waiver?
A: A Canadian Pardon removes your criminal record from searchable computer databases in Canada. A U.S. Entry Waiver is a legal document allowing you entry into the United States. The US Entry Waiver grants you admissibility that would otherwise be denied given your Canadian criminal record. If you have been denied entry to the U.S. you will require a U.S. Entry Waiver. If you have a criminal record in Canada, yet you have never been refused entry into the United States, you might consider only a Pardon. However, in that the United States does not recognize Canadian Pardons, if they are made aware of your record even after receiving a Pardon you could still be refused entry, be deported, detained or have property seized.
Q: What do I need to know before launching a consumer complaint?
A: Deciding to make a complaint against a company or organization that you feel has done you a disservice can be worthwhile if you enter into the process with the right knowledge and expectations. It can be time-consuming and yes, frustrating. But the more preparation you put into it up front, the more you’ll get out of the process in the end.
There’s a new tool available online that can help you take a more methodical, step-by-step approach to preparing your claim. The Complaint Roadmap, created by Industry Canada, walks you through everything you need to know to make an effective consumer complaint; from preparing your initial complaint to accessing municipal, provincial, and federal bodies that can help you get redress. The roadmap is a valuable resource that guides you through the formal process from beginning to end.
The first step of the roadmap gives a good overview of what you need to know and do before launching your complaint. For example, make a file and keep it in a secure place. Store every piece of correspondence you have – receipts, faxes, emails, notes from telephone conversations, reference numbers – in the file and keep adding to it as you move along.
You can also check out some of the main issues affecting consumer protection by visiting step one of the roadmap online at www.consumerinformation.ca and opening the following windows for information on specific topics. For example, under refund and exchange policies, you will find information on:
- Items that go on sale after purchase;
- Basic contract terms;
- Contract cancellations;
- Defective products;
- Private sales, and;
- Claims or holds against property
Some complaints may involve specific provincial, federal or territorial legislation that you need to know about in order to successfully pursue your complaint. Step one of the roadmap also has a link to summaries of consumer protection laws.
Once you’ve done your initial preparation, you’re ready to move on to the rest of the steps. Steps two through six help you decide what to say and how to say it, how to write a complaint letter (there’s a downloadable template in step four), how to elevate your complaint to a higher level and finally, what you need to know about going to court. Each step allows you to customize your search by topic and where you live. You can find the Complaint Roadmap at www.consumerinformation.ca